Monday, February 18, 2008

When life gives you lemons,
make limoncello

For cooking, I mostly use the Meyer lemons off the tree in my backyard. But the other day my mother-in-law sent over a bag of thick-skinned lemons from the tree in her yard. The skin is thick, the fruit is not particularly juicy or favorful, but I think they're perfect for this recipe from California cookbook author Joanne Weir.

LIMONCELLO

15 thick-skinned lemons
2 bottles of vodka, 750 ml each
3 1/4 cups sugar
5 cups water


If lemons are store-bought, wash themwell with a vegetable brush and hot water to remove any residue of pesticides or wax. Pat the lemons dry and remove the zest with a vegetable peeler.

Scrape any pith away with the tip of a knife.


Pour one bottle of vodka into a 4-qt. jar and add the zest as you remove it from the lemons. Cover jar, and let sit for 40 days, storing it at room temp. in a dark cabinet or cupboard. There is no need to stir: just sit and wait. As the limoncello sits, the vodka slowly takes on the flavor and rich yellow hue of the lemon zest.


After about 40 days, combine the sugar and water in a saucepan, bring to a boil and let cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Let the syrup cool before adding it to the limoncello mixture, along with the other bottle of vodka. Cover and return to the cupboard for another 40 days.

Strain the limoncello into bottles and discard the lemon zest. Store the bottles in a cupboard, but keep one in the freezer so that the limoncello is icy cold when you are ready to drink it.

I have to wait 80 days now, but this was a good creative outlet for me this afternoon. After returning from being gone for two nights on a camping trip with another family, Sophie threw herself into my arms and clung to me. For quite a while. And then she took off for the neighbors' house, and I didn't see her for the rest of the afternoon. I guess this is only going to get worse.

19 comments:

Mrs.Preppy said...

I love limoncello! That recipe looks great, but I am too impatient to wait 80 days to drink the stuff!

J said...

80 days is a long time to wait but I'm sure it will be worth it!

Do you grow any other citrus besides lemons? I'm so jealous; my mom just brought back a bunch of grapefruits from her aunt's backyard in Florida and I would just love to be able to have fresh oranges, grapefruits, and lemons whenever I wanted!

Kate said...

Nothing beats homemade Limoncello! My FIL made a bunch for my B&SIL's wedding a few years ago - so delicious!

KatieGirlBlue said...

OH! This is so exciting! Thank you for posting this recipe! It looks fantastic. Libby, are you seeing this???

I can't wait to drink buckets of this stuff, um, wait, I mean sip this elegant beverage from a delicate flute.....

tommie said...

This looks so delicious! I have had a creamy limencello at a restrauant in Austin. They even had a cheesecake made with it!

oh yeah, visiting from Libby's.

happy Monday

E said...

that looks well worth the wait! how delicious!

jilly said...

This is nothing to put a sour puss face on for, this sounds divine. And I think the reward after 80 days would be well worth it!

Cindy said...

J.: I have a lime tree too. I call it the gin and tonic tree, but I use limes a lot in Thai cooking. It goes pretty much dormant this time of year, but the Meyer lemon is going great guns.

I'm off to mark my first and second 40 days on my calendar!

Cindy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dmmlandcruiser said...

Yummy! That would be perfect for Lemon Drop Martinis!

Belle in Bloom said...

This sounds great. I'm really, really going to try to do it. (I sure could use some right now) ;)

Angelina said...

That sounds amazing. You know, I don't miss living in California because I happen to love Oregon best of all states, however, one thing my good old home state has that Oregon cannot ever have is a profuse and ready supply of lemons and other fine citrus and I do miss that. I had a meyer lemon tree and a Eureka lemon tree in my last garden and I'm so sad I can't grow them here without an "orangery".

I'm thinking I may have to do a produce trade with someone at some point: blueberries for lemons?

Cindy said...

Angelina: You are on for the lemon/blueberry swap! I have two blueberry bushes on my back porch in wine barrel containers. We started them from bare root, and they are slooooow to get going. I think last year we had about 20 berries on each, the year before about 10. Given that I can eat 100 at a time, this is a serious problem. Drop me an email when you've got berries, and we'll talk.

Rachella said...

This looks so delicious. I can't believe I've never heard of it before.

Kathryn said...

Found your blog thru Jen at Use Real Butter! I loved it as soon as I saw your Tom Tom, cause I have Tim on mine as well. And then I saw this post and noticed that we have the SAME cutting board in the pictures on our blogs!! wow. Now THAT is cool. Is yours bamboo???

amy said...

I love to make Limoncello.I make it the way my italian relatives did. I use grain alcohol instead of vodka. The process is the same, but you can drink it right away. I also keep in the freezer so it is nice and cold.I also made it with oranges, but it tasted quite like a frozen screwdriver. A little too sweet. LOve your web-site!

Cindy said...

Kathryn: Thanks for stopping by! That cutting board was made by a friend of ours who makes them out of all different kinds of wood. They're all different and absolutely beautiful. I love the small size of this one—easy to pull out for a small job.

Angelina said...

OK, but first you're going to have to give me your e-mail and then I'll need to figure out how to safely ship the best blueberries in the country to you. I can eat them by the hundreds as well. When I was in Santa Rosa I had two of them in wine barrels too, be absolutely certain to feed them the proper fertilizer because if you do they will respond in kind. Also? LOTS OF WATER. (there's two reasons why they do super well here in the PNW: lots of water, and acidic soil.)

When I started feeding my blueberries acidic fertilizer (you can dump your coffee grounds in their barrel too, they'll love it) mine finally started looking good. Just in time for a move out of state. Ah well. A friend has them now.

Angelina said...

OK- wish me luck! I just peeled all the lemons you sent and am about to combine with vodka to sit for 40 days.

Is it a coincidence that that's the exact amount of days Jesus roamed the desert?